Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Checking In and Catching Up


Good morning and Happy Fall! I've been on a scaled-back blogging schedule most of the summer (my last Sunday Salon post was in June), but we're finally beginning to see a return to normalcy.

Summer passed in a blur with all three girls at home. We enjoyed the traditional summer activities and I discovered a new sport - kayaking!  Then, in mid-July, my mother-in-law's health rapidly declined and she passed away a few weeks later. The blog went quiet for the rest of August.

Over Labor Day weekend, we moved Twin A back to college, while Twin B returned to classes locally. With their routines established, Daughter #1's job/apartment search became the main focus. We found an apartment, she landed a free-lancing gig, and a couple of interviews are pending. There's still a LOT to do before we move her to New York City two weeks. It's an exciting time...

So, what did I read? Not as much as I would have liked, but there are reviews in my draft folder:
The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Rules of Civility by Amore Towles
- The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

I also revisited The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, a book I hated in high school. Can't say that I loved it, but I did find much more to appreciated this time around. My post is here.

My current reads are an interesting mix.

For book club, I'm reading Boy's Life  by Robert McCammon. I was enthralled with the story-telling until a group of boys sprouted wings and took their annual fight around town on the last day of school. What can I say - I've never done well with magic. The meeting is Thursday and I'm not sure if I'll leave my bookmark at page 160 or try and power through.

Maine  by J. Courtney Sullivan is the book I've been craving all summer - multiple generations, family dynamics, summer house, the Maine coast. I don't want this book to end!

City of Women  by David Gillham is my car audiobook. Set in Berlin during WWII, it's gotten a lot of publicity lately. I'm finding it to be a tense and intense listen. The narrator, Suzanne Bertish, is pitch perfect.

Another audiobook, The End of the Affair  by Graham Greene, narrated by the swoon-worthy Colin Firth, is on my ipod. I read the book nearly ten years ago with my book club, but it's a totally different experience on audio. Audible.com was giving this away - FREE - a few weeks ago. It's only available to US listeners and I'm not sure how long the offer will last, but the link is here.

And let's not forget about Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. I actually read a few (three, to be exact) letters this month. Our year-long group read continues...

I hope you are enjoying this first full day of autumn. We are headed to the orchard for some apple-picking this afternoon, and I'm sure there will be pie for dessert! Then I look forward to catching up with my google reader.



38 comments:

  1. It's been a while, but it seems like there's not much more magic to the book than that scene. I remember being taken aback from that one too, but then it was a non-issue. Trish might remember differently.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I really was enjoying the story, so I'm going to try and read more before our meeting.

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  2. So sorry about your mother-in-law. And what a busy summer!

    I loved reading The Chaperone and Maine. Thanks for sharing.

    MY SUNDAY SALON POST

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I want to put everything aside and just read Maine today. It's such a good book.

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  3. I wish there was an orchard near me! I'm glad to see you're back, JoAnn. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

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    1. Vasilly - Apple picking is a fall tradition around here. Even though the girls are 19 and 22, they still love this family activity!

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  4. Maine sounds wonderful, and just the type of read I need right now. Could go with some apple pie,too! Enjoy!

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    1. Sharon - Maine is exactly what I need right now. Wish I cold send you some pie... we certainly don't need the whole thing, lol!

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  5. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. My son just began his senior year at a college in the Boston area. Such a busy time of year. I have been reading some Gaskell short stories. Really must get around to North and South.

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    1. Fay - Thank you. Boston is a very exciting city - your son must love it! North and South was such a good book. I'm looking forward to reading more of Gaskell's novels. Her short story "The Old Nurses's Story" is perfect for fall.

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  6. Those girls have been keeping you busy lately - but that's a good thing, isn't it? I'm not sure what I'll do when my kids don't need me so much any more!

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    1. Lisa - I'm starting to wonder if there will ever be a time when they don't need us a much, lol!

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  7. I'm thinking that I should have LISTENED to "The End of the Affair", not read it. I found it a strange reading experience, and not necessarily a wonderful one. I've got "City of Women" loaded on the iPod, I just need to make my way through everything I have lined up. I'm looking forward to it. Hope things calm down a little bit for you...I understand what it means to be pulled in a million different directions.

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    1. Sandy - The End of the Affair was a strange experience for me in print, too. Colin Firth's voice makes me feel much more connected to the story... still not sure if I like the novel though.

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  8. SOunds like so summer has been hectic but enjoyable. Hope fall is calmer and more relaxed for you. So sorry about your MIL as well.

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    1. Diane - I love fall and once we get our daughter settled into her NYC apartment, life should finally return to 'normal'. Although it's hard to know what that means anymore...

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  9. I am sorry to read about your MIL. Mine fell last week and broke and dislocated her ankle, and we are dealing with what th future will hold. We also just moved youngest son out, and that is, as I am sure you know, bittersweet. Thankfully, he is just 3 blocks away (maybe not so much for him ;o)

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    1. Nise' - Having your son just three blocks away seems like an ideal way to move into 'empty nesthood'! Hope your MIL is on the mend.

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  10. Such a busy summer! I am really sorry about your mother-in-law - I know that must have been such a loss. And best wishes to your daughter and her move!

    I'm curious to hear what you thought of The Rules of Civility. I ended up not finishing it, but wasn't entirely sure if it was the book or the audiobook narrator.

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    1. Carrie - I read Rules of Civility and loved it (as did most of my book club). Haven't heard much about the audio version though... think I'll go listen to a sample at audible.

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  11. The flying scene in BOY'S LIFE is not a literal flying scene---it's Cory using his story-telling abilities to make them all feel like they're flying. There's no magic involved, except for the magic of Cory's story-telling. That said, there are elements of BOY'S LIFE that do have some aspects of "magic realism." I hope you'll continue to read it....

    Hunter

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    1. Hunter - Thanks so much for your input! I'm not a fan of magic realism, and have been told that those elements don't figure prominently in the novel. Glad to hear the boys were not actually flying around, but feeling kind of silly that I misunderstood. Several of my blogging friends have loved this book, so I will keep going.

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    2. Did you keep reading it?

      Don't feel silly---a lot of people misunderstand that scene.

      Hunter

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    3. Not yet. We had our book club meeting - not a great discussion, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. It's still on my nightstand, but I want to finish this month's selection (The Submission by Amy Waldman) first. I'll get back to Boy's Life eventually.

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  12. City of Women and Maine are excellent reads. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Have a great week!

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    1. Kaye - I'm really enjoying both of them so far! Hope you have a wonderful week, too.

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  13. I've always thought kayaking would be so calming and peaceful.

    It's great your daughter found an apt., it's not that easy in NYC anymore! I'm sure your daughter will love it living in NYC. I lived there for a few years between college and law school and it was great fun!

    You always read a wonderful selection of books.
    So happy to see your posts are back!

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    1. Amy - Calming and peaceful are exactly the right words. We rented kayaks this summer, but I definitely want to purchase some for next year. Even though I was warned, the NYC rent prices were still a shock... more like a mortgage, I'd say!

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  14. Sorry to hear of your Mother In Law's passing, JoAnn.

    Happy Autumn to you too although the equinox has been ushered in with horrid rain here in Northern Ireland - still we're used to it and we make the most of the dry weather in between!

    Maine is on my wishlist - it sounds fabulous.

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    1. Lovely Treez - Hopefully Northern Ireland will dry out soon and you can enjoy the fall weather, too. I'm at the midpoint of Maine and am wishing it could go on much longer...

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  15. My condolences, JoAnn, I hope that your mother in law did not suffer, and that you and your family are coping well.

    It sounds like it was really nice to have your daughters at home, and now with one (almost) off to NYC... that must be very exciting indeed!

    Your reading wasn't that slow at all, you've quite a few books by the look of it!

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    1. Chinoseries - Thank you. My MIL's health had been failing for several years, but her passing was peaceful. I'm looking forward to spending more time in NYC once my daughter is settled!

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  16. You've been reading quite a bit. I have a mixed bag of books going right now. IT by King, American Psycho and The Lighthouse Road. All of them so different.

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    1. Ti - That's quite a variety of books :-)

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  17. It's good to see you! I've been able to keep up with the blogging, but not the blog reading. I'm trying to catch up!

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    1. Stacybuckeye - Things finally seem to be returning to 'normal' and I'm looking forward to blogging and blog-reading again!

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  18. I'm trying to catch-up, as well. I can't believe this post has been in my in-box since Sept. 23rd! I mainly wanted to say that I'm so sorry about your mother-in-law. Most people joke about their MILs, but I loved mine dearly and was so sad when she passed away. I hope you and your husband have wonderful memories to help you through the sad days... I'll be thinking of you this holiday season... always so hard that first year...

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  19. Thanks, Les. Her health had been failing for several years, but it is still a difficult time.

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